The Pakistan Cricket Board announced a 16-member squad for the T20I series which will start on October 5 in Lahore on Wednesday. Head coach and chief selector, Misbah-ul-Haq recalled Pakistan‘s dangerous duo of Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad along with Faheem Ashraf for the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka. They replaced Abid Ali, Mohammad Rizwan and Imam-ul-Haq from the ODI squad while the other 13 has retained their spots.
Umar Akmal, 29, last played a T20 for the national team in November 2016 against the West Indies and he was a part of the ODI series against Australia in March this year ahead of the World Cup. Opener Shehzad has also been out of the squad since June 2018 when he last played in the shorter format in Edinburg against Scotland. Both of the players hardly got any chance in Mickey Arthur’s three-year stint as head coach.
But Misbah-ul-Haq has other ideas as he is preparing the team keeping an eye to next year’s World T20 in Australia.
“Both Shehzad and Umar are experienced players and have performed and left an impact in the T20 format. They trained hard in the recent conditioning camp and have done well in domestic cricket so we are giving them a chance,” Misbah added. “We are checking players for vacant spots in the team ahead of the World Cup which is important for us.”
The chief selector has also recalled the allrounder Faheem Ashraf for the T20I series against Sri Lanka after he was left out of the World Cup squad this year. However, opener Imam-ul-Haq has been left out due to a hand injury which has also forced him out of the third and final One Day International against Sri Lanka on Wednesday in Karachi.
Imam-ul-Haq is one of the prolific batsmen of Pakistan and Shehzad would love to fill his place at the opening.
Pakistan T20 squad: Sarfaraz Ahmed (Captain), Babar Azam, Ahmed Shehzad, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Muhammad Aamir, Muhammad Hasnain, Muhammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Umar Akmal, Usman Shinwari and Wahab Riaz.